WASHINGTON -- Subway promotes itself as the healthy fast food restaurant, but when young people do the ordering, their Subway meal might not be much healthier than McDonald's.
Researchers writing in the Journal of Adolescent Health say when people between ages 12 and 21 were asked to buy meals at Subway, they wound up with nearly as many calories as the meals young people bought at McDonald's. The researchers say there's no statistical difference from the 1,038-calorie meals bought at McDonald's and the 955-calorie meals at Subway.
The Institute of Medicine recommends school lunches not exceed 850 calories.
Dr. Lenard Lesser led the research while at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
According to UCLA Health, the sandwiches the kids bought at Subway actually contained more calories than the sandwiches bought at McDonald's: 784 calories versus 572.
Where diners picked up extra calories at McDonald's compared to Subway were from the sugary soft drinks and the side dishes such as McDonald's fries: 151 calories versus 61 calories for the drinks, and 201 calories versus 35 calories for the sides.
Sodium intake was higher at Subway than at McDonald's: 2,149 mg at Subway; 1,829 mg at McDonald's, according to UCLA Health.
Lest Subway feel picked on, the researchers conclude that meals from both restaurants are likely to contribute to overeating.
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